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Organizing a remote state of incipient talk: Push-to-talk mobile radio interaction


This study investigates the organization of conversational interaction via push-to-talk mobile radios. Operating like long-range walkie-talkies, the mobile radios mediate a remote state of incipient talk; at the push of a button, speakers can initiate, engage, dis-engage and re-engage turn-by-turn talk. Eight closely-knit friends used the mobile radios for one week; fifty of their conversational exchanges were analyzed using conversation analytic methods. The findings describe the contour of their conversational exchanges: how turn-by-turn talk is engaged, sustained and dis-engaged. Similar to a continuing state of incipient talk in copresence, opening and closing sequences are rare. Instead speakers engage turn-by-turn talk by immediately launching the purpose of the call. Speakers dis-engage turn-by-turn talk by orienting to the relevance of a lapse at sequence completion. Once engaged, the mobile radio system imposes silence between speakers' turns-at-talk giving them a resource for managing a remote conversation amidst on-going copresent activities.


Szymanski, M. H. ; Vinkhuyzen, E. ; Aoki, P. M. ; Woodruff, A. Organizing a remote state of incipient talk: Push-to-talk mobile radio interaction. Language in Society. 2006 July; 35 (3): 393-418.